The time is upon us! Nintendo’s next home console is finally revealed, and its official name is the Nintendo Switch! You can watch the reveal trailer right here.
The biggest reveals for Nintendo’s new console is that, as it was often rumored, it is indeed a hybrid of a home console and a handheld system, which will surely change Nintendo’s game considerably. And as it was also rumored, the games will return to cartridges.
Along with the previously announced Nintendo Switch version of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, confirmed games include a new Mario Kart, Splatoon (either a new version or a sequel), an Elder Scrolls title, and a brand new 3D Mario game.
And, believe it or not, it’s still scheduled for a worldwide release this March!
So another E3 has come and gone, and overall the show was…okay. There were some games that looked great, other games that everyone but me thought looked great (isn’t that right, Days Gone?), and the heart-crushing disappointment of Paper Mario: Color Splash being revealed to be everything we feared it would be.
Anyway, it was a so-so show, made a bit more lively by the few games that really stood out. As far as I’m concerned, the following are the five games I’m most looking forward to after this year’s event.
Oh, but I’m doing things just a little differently this year. Since my overall reaction to E3 this year was just lukewarm, I’m comprising my top 5 games from the event whether they were present at the show floor or not. Just what ever tickled my fancy this year, as long as it was featured or announced at the event.
I may do a few additional E3 awards later, but it all depends on how many Pixar-related posts I get around to (my “Pixar Month” has been surprisingly only slightly Pixar-y thus far).
So anyway, here are my top five most anticipated games coming out of E3 2016.
5: Crash Bandicoot Remastered
I was so excited when I heard the Crash Bandicoot theme on-stage during Sony’s conference. After years and years of rumors that Crash was coming back (some said under developer Naughty Dog), I thought all my wishes would come true.
And then they casually announced that they were simply remaking the first three Crash games on PS4 and that Crash Bandicoot is in the new Skylanders game, and I was a bit less excited.
After having some time to let it soak in though, I’m really excited for these Crash remakes. For one thing, the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy by Naughty Dog is still the series’ highpoint, and while the second and third entries have aged pretty darn well, these remakes have the chance to iron out the kinks they do have and bring them a more modern fluidity, while also having the chance to fix the largely outdated elements of the first Crash Bandicoot (seriously, fix the save feature!).
Not only that, but this might be the best way to reintroduce Crash to the world, after being passed around to developers like a game of hot potato, with none of the subsequent studios really getting the Naughty Dog’s formula right, and then having the IP go dark for eight years.
Who knows, maybe if the Crash remakes go well enough, it will sway Naughty Dog to get back into the platforming game.
4: Insomniac’s Spider-Man
Insomniac tends to make good games. Spider-Man is in serious need of a good game. Let’s hope Insomniac gets their peanut butter in Spider-Man’s chocolate…or something. It sounded better before I typed it. I don’t know why I’m not going back and changing my analogy.
Anyway, this new Spider-Man looks promising, and it could be the first great super hero game in years not to have the word “Arkham” in the title. Just please, somehow get J.K. Simmons to reprise his role of J. Jonah Jameson. Please! This goes for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well!
3: The Last Guardian
HOLY CRAP IT HAS A RELEASE DATE! And it’s only months away! Dreams do come true! We will get a new Crash Bandicoot from Naughty Dog! Paper Mario will go back to its RPG roots! Capcom will start making Mega Man games again!
Okay, I might be getting ahead of myself. For now, I’ll just be happy that the almost mythical The Last Guardian is actually happening. After years and years of delays, disappearances, and vague re-appearances, the follow-up to Shadow of the Colossus is finally happening. Here’s hoping it lives up to both its predecessor’s, and its own, reputation.
Yooka-Laylee’s slight delay may be a little bit of a bummer, but my oh my, is this game shaping up to be something beautiful. It really does look like it’s going to be what Playtonic Games promised, and more.
From it’s likable cast of characters, colorful visuals and stunning locales, Yooka-Laylee is already looking like the true successor to Rare’s N64 heyday.
It’s been too long since collectathon platformers were a thing, but Yooka-Laylee looks to carry the torch so well that it’s like they never left. It’s shaping up to be the follow-up to Banjo-Tooie that we’ve waiting over sixteen years for (Gah! I’m old!), and a proper modernization and evolution of the genre. I simply can’t wait to see everything Yooka and Laylee’s world has in store (I’m guessing googly eyes are involved).
Hats off to Playtonic. Hats off.
1: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Sony may have had the best presence at E3, but Nintendo had the best game. After years and years of Zelda trying to tweak its established formula, we finally have a Zelda that seeks to reinvent it.
From what I’ve heard so far, Breath of the Wild looks to be one of the most open-ended games I’ve ever seen (you can fight the final boss right off the bat!), and Link’s abilities and items look unlike they have before. And finally, FINALLY, Link can jump. Yes, Link finally joins the likes of Mario as one of Nintendo’s jumpers.
I’ve seen many people already claim that Breath of the Wild is basically Nintendo’s equivalent to Skyrim (though I would argue that Breath of the Wild actually looks fun. Oooooh!), and that’s not too far off, as far as its open-endedness is concerned. But it also looks to draw inspiration from Zelda’s very first entry, Team Ico games, and even the films of Hayao Miyazaki (oh come on, the Guardians are totally inspired by Castle in the Sky’s robots).
Breath of the Wild really looks like its going all-out with its “breaking of series conventions,” and it only has me more and more interested to see what else Nintendo ends up doing with the game. Breath of the Wild is shaping up to be a beautiful swansong for the Wii U, and a fantastic introduction to the NX.
The only real question now is, what will Nintendo do with the next Mario?
I love The Legend of Zelda. I really do. It’s one of gaming’s best franchises, and certainly one of the most consistent. But Nintendo’s decision to dedicate the entirety of their E3 presence this year to the new Zelda for Wii U and the upcoming NX is a bit baffling, to say the least.
When I first read the news that Zelda Wii U/NX would be the sole playable game on the show floor, I was a little disappointed, but I was under the impression that they would still have a video presentation showcasing other future games, so I wasn’t too bummed. But then I heard that Nintendo wasn’t even going to have a special edition of Nintendo Direct, as they’ve done the past three years, and instead just have a live stream solely dedicated to the new Zelda title, I was really disappointed, and more than a little confused.
Look, I understand that Zelda is one of the most beloved series of all time, and holds a special place in the hearts of many gamers. But for one new entry to be the entire focus of Nintendo’s presence at one of the biggest gaming events of the year just isn’t enough.
I can respect the delay for the release of the NX. Although missing out on the holiday season may be yet another bummer, but you can’t rush a product before its finished, and the delay means it won’t be launching in direct competition with PSVR and the newer edition PS4s and Xbox Ones that are supposed to hit by year’s end. But to not even make the NX a subject at E3 in any capacity is ridiculous. This is Nintendo’s new home console and, if rumors are true, their new handheld as well. Even if they don’t have it on the show floor, shouldn’t they want to use E3 as a means to get some early buzz for the platform?
At the very least, couldn’t we at least get word on some games to expect on NX? They wouldn’t even have to go into great detail with them. They could just list off “a new 3D Mario,” “Pikmin 4,” and “Super Mario RPG 2″ (let me dream!) will be hitting NX in the future” and that would be enough to get some extra interest and investment going. I mean, sure, Mario coming to NX is an inevitability, but early confirmation would help nonetheless.
Of course, the most disappointing aspect of this news isn’t even in regards to NX, but Wii U. The Wii U was Nintendo’s least financially successful home console, so I kind of get why it won’t be a focal point for E3 now that it’s entering its twilight (it was still a great system, damn it!). But to not give the people who own the console a last wave of release dates and reveals at E3 is more than a little bit of a sting. I’m not even saying they need to be major announcements, but surely there’s enough time left between now and the NX launch to give Wii U owners a game or two to look forward to.
Frankly, I feel like Nintendo is putting all of their eggs in one basket in regards to their near future and Zelda Wii U/NX. The game definitely looks great, and its promise sounds quite interesting. It could wind up being the best Zelda ever by the time it’s released. But as it stands, Zelda Wii U/NX just enough for an E3 showing. Not when they’re leaving Wii U owners high and dry and keeping those who are excited for NX guessing. Even if Zelda’s showing at E3 is phenomenal, Nintendo’s won’t be.
Good news and bad news. The good news is Nintendo has announced a rough release date for its next home console, codenamed NX, as being March of 2017. The bad news is that the new Legend of Zelda, which is now officially confirmed to be an NX title as well as a Wii U one, will be launching simultaneously on both consoles around that same time, meaning that it has been delayed yet again.
Now, part of me is a little relieved to hear this news, with that part of me being my wallet. But I also can’t help but feel a little disappointed that Zelda Wii U is delayed once again. It’s been delayed so many times it’s gone from a recurring joke to no longer being funny…
It’s also a bit sad to hear that NX won’t be making it for 2016’s Christmas season, which has been the case for a number of Nintendo’s past consoles. But you can’t force something out of the gate when it’s not ready, I suppose.
The real downer to this news is that it confirms that the Wii U is the only Nintendo console to not have a dedicated Zelda title. Though at the very least, I suppose it has seen the best versions of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, so the brand new Zelda will make it the only home console to house three distinct Zelda adventures, even if they remakes and multiplatform titles.
I suppose I can’t be too disappointed, however, since a delay only means there’s extra work being put into the game. I’d rather have a great game than a rushed one (though I guess at this point it would hardly be considered rushed). And I’m not one of those silly gamers who claims to have “bought a Wii U just for Zelda” and have seldom been disappointed with any of the console’s major releases (Tropical Freeze alone guarantees that I could never, ever regret getting a Wii U).
Hopefully Zelda Wii U/NX can live up to the hype. And maybe we can get a new 3D Mario on NX to go with it. Just for good measure. Please?